Product Cover Image

Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities, 4th Edition

By David L. Westling, Lise L. Fox

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jun 25, 2008


This updated edition of Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities, is written in a way that makes the most complex findings of research understandable and usable in the real educational world. Drawing on their own experiences, the authors bring a level of currency and reality to the book that is unparalleled. This book offers comprehensive coverage of all of the issues that are pertinent to teaching students with severe disabilities.  The authors clearly and completely address both methodology and curriculum, presenting topics in the order in which a teacher would approach them: prior considerations, planning and assessment, general instructional procedures, and, finally, procedures targeted to learners with specific disabling conditions. In addition, they pay thoughtful attention to assessment, the role of paraprofessionals, and multicultural concerns.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1    Students with Severe Disabilities: Definitions, Descriptions, Characteristics, and Potential

Defining Severe Disabilities

Intellectual Disability Categories and Syndromes

Characteristics of Persons with Severe Disabilities

Potential for Success by Persons with Severe Disabilities

Chapter 2    Philosophy and Best Practices for Educating Students with Severe Disabilities

A Philosophy of Services

Contemporary Best Practices for Students with Severe Disabilities

The Bases of Best Practices

The Meaning of Special Education

Chapter 3    Collaboration Among Professionals and Paraeducators

The Meaning of Collaboration

Chapter 4    Parents, Families, and Cultural Issues

Promoting Family Involvement

The Meaning of Collaboration

Establishing Partnerships with the Family

Providing Culturally Competent Education and Support

Providing Support to Parents

The Role of Teachers When Collaborating with Parents

Providing Culturally Competent Instruction



Chapter 5    Planning Instructional Programs for Students with Severe Disabilities

Planning for Students with Severe Disabilities

Chapter 6    Conducting Assessments to Determine Instructional Needs

Approaches to Assessment



Chapter 7    Teaching Students to Acquire New Skills

Elements of Effective Instruction

Good General Teaching Practices

How Behaviors and Skills are Learned

Instructional Tactics for Teaching New Skills to Students with Severe Disabilities

Chapter 8    Teaching Skills for Generalization and Maintenance

The Importance of Generalization and Maintenance

Strategies That Have Been Used to Achieve Skill Generalization

Applying Generalization Strategies

Teaching Skill Maintenance

Writing Instructional Programs to Include Generalization Instruction and to Promote Maintenace

Chapter 9    Evaluating Student Progress

The Importance of Evaluating Student Progress

Alternate Assessment Requirements for Students with Severe Disabilities

Portfolio Assessment Procedures

Continuous Direct Assessment

Chapter 10  Creating Inclusive Educational Environments

Teaching in Inclusive Environments

The Importance of School Inclusion

Benefits of Inclusion

The Inclusive Education Model

Facilitating School Acceptance: Structures for Successful Inclusion

Making Inclusion Work: Essential Supports

Peer Supports

Colllaborative Teaming

Meaningful Instructional Arrangements

The Changing Role of the Special Educator



Chapter 11    Teaching Communication Skills

The Instruction of Communication Skills

Communication Skill Development

Assessment Issues

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Instructional Strategies

Generalization Issues

Chapter 12    Providing Behavioral Supports to Improve Challenging Behavior

Addressing Challenging Behavior

Defining Problem Behavior

A Functional Approach

Conducting a Functional Assessment

Behavior Support Plan Development

Chapter 13    Managing Sensory and Motor Systems

Addressing Sensory and Motor Challenges

The Sensory Systems

The Motor System

Positioning and Handling

Instructional Programming

Sensory Impairments

Chapter 14    Providing Support for Health and Medical Needs

Supporting Students with Health-Care Needs

Therapeutic Management

Nutrition and Feeding

Special Concerns

Infectious Disease

Chapter 15    Teaching Personal Care Skills

The Importance of Personal Care

General Considerations

Eating, Self-Feeding, and Other Mealtime Skills

Learning to Use the Toilet

Learning to Dress

Learning Personal Hygiene and Grooming Skills

Chapter 16    Teaching Leisure and Recreational Skills

The Importance of Recreation Skills

Recreation Skill Instruction

Recreation as a Related Service

Community Recreation Opportunities

Developing Friendships

Chapter 17    Teaching Academic Skills

Issues Related to Academic Instruction and Accessing the General Curriculum

Facilitating Access and Participation in the General Curriculum

Teaching Literacy Skills

Teaching Math Skills

Teaching Science Skills

Chapter 18    Teaching Community and Domestic Skills

Why Teach Community and Domestic Skills?

General Procedures Related to Teaching Community and Domestic Skills

Community Settings and Activities

Domestic Skills and Activities

Issues Related to Community-Based Instruction

Chapter 19    Using Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning

Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Assistive Technology Devices for Students with Severe Disabilities

Considerations for Identifying Appropriate Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Use of AT Devices in Family and Cultural Contexts

Funding of AT Devices and Services

Effectiveness of AT Devices and Services

Limitations of AT Devices and Services and Needed Directions

Chapter 20    Meeting the Needs of Young Children

Special Education Programs and the Law

Teaching Young Children

Family-Centered Approach

The Intervention Context

Assessment in Early Intervention

Instructional Programs for Young Children

Inclusion and Young Children

Transition Issues

Chapter 21    Transition Planning and Adult Issues

The Importance of Transition Planning


Natural Supports

Postschool Outcomes

Transition Services

Developing the Transition Individualized Education Plan

Teaching the Secondary Student